Waipahu High students, Hawai‘i Pacific Health doctors and nurses to work side by side in new Academic Health Center on campus

10-Apr-2024

Waipahu High School’s new Academic Health Center will engage more than 500 health academy students who will receive hands-on training from Hawai‘i Pacific Health physicians and medical professionals to support the community clinic.

WAIPAHU— Waipahu High School, in partnership with Hawai‘i Pacific Health and Hawai‘i 3Rs, today unveiled the school’s new Academic Health Center, an innovative and fully operational primary care clinic on campus. 

The center is the first of its kind in the country, where high school students serve a role in a school-based health clinic. Students in the school’s Academy of Health & Sciences pathways will be able to directly learn from and work together with physicians and medical professionals to serve patients.

“When we have leaders that embrace the importance of education, helping to make connections for students, and then providing the resources necessary to enable the Department and schools to build these kinds of facilities to support student learning … this is why it's the most exciting time in public education," said Superintendent Keith Hayashi, who formerly led the high school as its principal for more than a decade and is credited with laying the foundation for industry partnerships to strengthen the school's career academies.

In partnership with the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa John A. Burns School of Medicine, family medicine and OB-GYN physicians and teams from Hawai‘i Pacific Health (HPH) will run the clinic and offer services to the community on an appointment-only basis. The 1,870-square-foot center features four exam rooms and one treatment room. The clinic will begin accepting appointments from the community later this week, according to HPH.

“This is a huge step forward for health care in Hawai‘i,” Dr. Leslie Chun, chief executive officer of Hawai‘i Pacific Health Medical Group said. “We are immersing ourselves in a community to help serve people’s medical needs while empowering high school students to become Hawai‘i’s health care professionals of the future. This is a model for how we all can contribute to the health and well-being of our state, both physically and economically.”

Waipahu High's Health & Sciences Academy students will have the opportunity to shadow physicians and gain real-life experience in roles ranging from administrative to clinical positions. The academy’s faculty will also receive training and professional development from clinic staff.

“When you look here at this clinic, it is about ensuring that we have a workforce-ready population, especially in the health care industry, which is in need. We are benefiting our students, the state of Hawai‘i and the community of Waipahu,” said Waipahu High Principal Zachary Sheets.

More than 500 of the school’s health academy students will be able to participate in the clinic’s daily operations. In an effort to integrate all of the school’s academies, original artwork from students in the Academy of Arts & Communications students are featured on the walls in the facility, Sheets said. The school’s culinary students under the Academy of Natural Resources will also be engaged with the clinic around nutrition.

“Teenagers like myself are privileged to act as the next generation’s best,” said Carlo Golez, a junior in Waipahu’s Academy of Health & Sciences who hopes to pursue veterinary science after high school. “Waipahu has the chance to be self-sustainable, finally giving back to the community that raised us.”

Hawai‘i 3Rs led the construction management of the project. It partnered with G70 to design the floor plan and awarded the construction bid to S&M Sakamoto. Construction on the building, which previously housed the school’s adult education center, began last summer.

Waipahu High is a nationally recognized wall-to-wall academy high school, holding national recognition for its six career academies.

Contact Information

Communications Branch

Phone: (808) 784-6200

Email: doeinfo@k12.hi.us

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